We need our elected officials to be focused on jobs, not deficits. Are we allowed to say we’re back in a recession?
The Lehigh Valley’s unemployment rate crept up in July for the third straight month, with sluggish job growth insufficient to absorb a fresh round of graduates entering the workforce.
The number of Lehigh Valley residents working hit 380,000 in July, up 300 from June. But the size of the workforce also increased by 800 people to hit 416,800. So the unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point to hit 8.8 percent even though more people are working, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry.
The unemployment increase was the third straight monthly gain in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton metro area after six months of decreases from November to April, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industry. The area’s jobless rate has advanced 1 percentage point in the last three months and the region had the state’s highest unemployment rate for the 16th straight month.
Seasonal forces, though, contributed heavily to the jobless growth in July. Employment in local government educational services, including public school teachers who finished the school year in June, decreased by 2,200 and the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector shed 500 jobs, including people who drive school buses.